Durban — EThekwini is on a mission to get the City’s groove back by increasing the number of summer events and renovating some establishments that are tourists’ favourites.
This was revealed by eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda during Durban’s Summer Sizzling campaign launch at Silokazis Wedding and Events Venue in Inanda on Thursday.
Kaunda said efforts were being made to rebuild the tourism sector after the April 2022 floods were paying off and had contributed immensely to the increase of visitors to Durban.
He said the City was trying to accommodate economic transformation by giving the previously excluded the chance to show their capabilities and contribution to the economy. Speaking of a beachfront facelift, Kaunda said some of the renovations included a revamp of Circus Circus restaurant, the pools for both kids and adults and a new establishment on the former Fun World site.
Kaunda said swimming pools along the central beach front were receiving a facelift and would be ready in time for the summer season.
He said the popular Circus Circus restaurant on North Beach was being renovated into a fusion of Africanism and art deco, and is expected to be opened in October.
Kaunda said tourism was an important contributor to economic growth and job creation. The municipality revealed that it was gearing up for a bumper summer season and was prepared to welcome an expected 950 000 visitors to Durban.
“The occupancy rate expected this year is around 62% compared to the 57% achieved last year. Furthermore, we are expecting a direct spend of R2.1 billion and R5.2bn contribution to the GDP, as well 10 000 jobs created,” Kaunda said.
Kaunda said this year alone Durban had seen an influx of 123 364 international passengers at King Shaka International Airport, marking a 126% increase from the previous year. Domestic arrivals had also seen an increase, with a 22% rise, amounting to 2.1 million passengers.
To ensure the safety of visitors during the summer holidays, the City promised to beef up law enforcement personnel at tourism sites.
Chris Phili, one of the tourism stakeholders, said no tourists would come to Durban if the locals did not visit their own destinations.
“Somebody must have done justice by also inviting locals into this launch. It is rude of us to just hit them with dust on our way here and just leave them hanging. They should be included and made part of their prides,” said Phili.
Phili challenged the mayor and the ward councillor, Marco Mbambo, who was present, to make it a point that every ward in the municipality had a tour guide.
Kaunda said the City was continuing to rebuild the local tourism industry and casting a light on Durban’s attractions and township gems.
“Those of you who only highlight the bad things happening within the city must know that your doings are discrediting your city,” he said.
On the rates boycott, Kaunda mentioned the City and most of the ratepayers’ associations that he had met fully understood the plans the City had.
He made a promise to those who continued to resist paying their rates, adding that they now knew who to target first when they were cutting services.
Kaunda also promoted Silokazis Wedding and Events Venue that overlooks the majestic Inanda Dam as one of the city’s gems.
“Last week, we showcased another township tourism gem, the Coastal Beach Resort, located on the serene shores of uMgababa where you can enjoy beach horse-riding and other activities, said Kaunda.
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